Chief Charlie Boyte's report for September 2017

Michael Boyle

Thanks everyone, for keeping the islands safe over weeks of extreme fire risk. Hopefully, by the time this article appears, it will have rained and cooled down. If not, we will need your continued vigilance to prevent fires and report smoke by instantly dialing 911.

Let’s hope everyone paid attention to our fire prevention crew at Swartz Bay. In extreme fire conditions, one small fire can spell disaster. Special thanks to Deputy Chief Mike Dine and his fire prevention crews for a job well done.

Our amazing summer students really helped our education efforts at Swartz Bay, the Farmers’ Market and other venues. They also tested more than four kilometres of fire hose, detailed every truck and cleaned our halls. Thank you for your hard work and exuberance. What a pleasure having you on our team. Please join me in wishing Mack Dine, Nicholas van Bakel and Sarah Maltby a fantastic term as they return to their studies.

As you have witnessed on the news, there are far too many BC residents who have not been as fortunate as us. BC has broken the all-time record for area burned this year … almost one million hectares with no end in sight.

I know you appreciate the impact these fires have on families and communities, but the TV pictures do not do justice to the ferocity and magnitude of these fires. You have to be close to a wildfire to appreciate the respect they command and the fear they can instill. These fires can produce energy equivalent to a nuclear reaction; you do not want to be in front of one.

The strategy for controlling these fires is usually based on limiting the spread by burning off fuel in front of the fire. It is far too dangerous to work heavy equipment ahead of these large fires so most containment is done by wildfire crews on the flanks. It’s backbreaking work digging out every hot spot to ensure the fire does not spread.

Our Pender fire crews got firsthand experience when we received a call to assist in July. Our crews worked with several task forces including fire engines and water tenders. While the primary role of our crews was to protect structures in the Monte Lake, Clinton and Riske Creek areas, they also helped stop large fires from crossing highways and protected sawmills and infrastructure before being released on August 14.

Our crews were amazed by the dedication and stamina of the full-time wildfire crews; and the experience was invaluable.

Please note: We need recruits to augment our firefighter ranks.

The role of firefighter is challenging and rewarding. If you have the gumption, we can provide you with the knowledge and skill to play an important role protecting our community.

Here is the challenge: You trade six months of your regular Saturday activities (January through June next year) to study, learn and challenge yourself physically. Then, we give you a pager so you can help as your time permits. Over the following 18 months, we provide you the opportunity to serve your community and earn an accredited certificate to the internationally recognized NFPA 1001 firefighter standard or pursue a training stream that suits your interests.

This is a great opportunity, don’t miss out – join next year’s class!

Pender Fire has attended to 220 calls as of August. That compares with 181 over the same period in 2016, a 21 per cent increase. Some new help to support that load would be appreciated. Please call 250-629-3321 to see how you can help keep Pender safe.


Fire Chief Charlie Boyte

Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply


Craig Barber

Fire Fighter 2

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911


250 629-3321


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